American Idol hopeful Ash Ruder, a social media manager from Turlock, California, brought judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan to tears with an emotional original song written for her father.
In the intro video, Ruder explained that she grew up distant from her father due to his struggles with addiction. Two years ago, her father got sober and they've grown close as a family.
"My dad struggled with addiction since I was little -- hard drugs, liquor. And so he wasn't really there. I wish that things could've been different. By the time I got older, I was super angry with my dad, but the few times my dad would show up, it meant the world to me. I know that he felt ashamed and felt guilt," Ruder said. "Two years ago, he made the choice to become sober and that's why I'm doing this."
For her audition, which happened to fall on her father's birthday, Ruder told the judges that she'd be performing a song written for her dad.
After the judges invited Ruder's father into the audition room, the singer-songwriter sang him the song she wrote for him, bringing dad to tears and garnering misty-eyed response from the judges.
"But as your little girl, I just want you to know / I'm proud to see who you've become / I love the man I've come to know," Ruder sang. "And I'm your kid wondering / I'm just wondering / Hey, dad, how do I get it right? / Because I think you have / And I'm proud of your life."
"Dad, congrats. Through all this, you've raised a very talented young lady," Bryan said. "I'm interested to hear other dynamics of your voice. But your vibrato is really done really, really nice."
Richie praised Ruder's songwriting.
"You've found the only subject that never goes out of style: love," Richie said.